Thirty-eight oncology HPs (21 oncology nurses, 12 medical oncologists, and 5 radiation oncologists) were interviewed individually or in focus groups about their experiences communicating with patients from minority backgrounds. The interviews were audio taped and analysed thematically.
The majority of participants (82%) reported varying degrees of uncertainty and discomfort regarding working with minority patients, with many barriers to communication encountered. Participants perceived that minority patients received less emotional support than majority group patients. They experienced challenges in balancing beliefs about patient autonomy with cultural differences regarding the role of the family. Strategies employed by participants to facilitate interactions included: modifying speech, taking more time in consultations, rapport building, and using nonverbal techniques.
Oncology HPs encounter many linguistic and cultural barriers when communicating with minority patients. They need formal training tailored to developing culturally competent communication. Oncology nurses and oncologists could benefit from formal communication skills training focused upon cultural competence during their career development programs.
- Oncology nurses, Health professionals, Minorities, Communication skills, Cultural competence